A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme which is breathing new life into one of the town centre’s most historic streets is nearing its completion.
The four-year programme, on Eldon Street, has seen Historic England and Barnsley Council team up to deliver a series of improvements including the restoration of broken cobbles to the refurbishment of several key buildings such as the Civic and Parkway Cinema.
The street was chosen as a so-called heritage action zone due to its 180-year history and its close proximity to the £210m Glass Works regeneration.
Council bosses previously approved a £1.968m grant from Historic England towards improvements on Eldon Street, triggering the release of £2m in matchfunding in order for the works to be carried out.
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, who visited the street this week to see the project’s progress, said: “It was fascinating to visit Eldon Street to see for myself the important and exciting work being done to reinvigorate our town’s rich heritage.
“Some may not know about the storied history of Eldon Street and it will be brilliant to see a key part of our town centre flourish again.
“It is particularly satisfying that this work is being done in a way that neatly bridges our proud past with the present.”
The council also purchased ‘eyesore’ 35 Eldon Street - which was last used a fish and chip shop and was also a former pub under the names of The Gatehouse, Devonshire Hotel and Beer Engine - in order to demolish it.
Coun Robert Frost, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, added: “Barnsley has already delivered one successful heritage action zone project at Elsecar which has helped develop it as a visitor destination and base for creative industry businesses.
“But the zone focused on Eldon Street has been a revelation.
“Working in partnership with Historic England, we are collaborating with local anchor organisations like the Civic to open up the frontage on Eldon Street and create space for new local businesses and community engagement.
“We look forward to the final unveiling of all the capital works in 2024 and restoring this key part of Eldon Street to its former glory.”
Richard Butterfield, who is overseeing the project for Historic England, said the forthcoming work will see the area - which is often the first commuters using Barnsley Interchange view - ‘reinvigorated’.
He said: “Dating from 1840, Eldon Street is situated in the middle of Barnsley town centre.
“It has three attractive listed buildings: the Yorkshire ‘Penny’ Bank, the Queens Hotel, and the late-19th century Civic, which dominates the west side of the street with its large and handsome decorative facade.
“Eldon Street has deteriorated over the years and is currently in poor condition with many vacant buildings - this gives a negative impression to visitors who arrive in the town from Barnsley Interchange.
“It is the key missing element of the town’s current regeneration.
“Improving the appearance of the buildings and bringing activity back to the street will make a significant difference to the town centre as a whole.
‘‘We were delighted to show Dan how Historic England and Barnsley Council’s investment in Eldon Street is reinvigorating this historic part of the town and making it a more attractive place to visit.’’